Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Pushing to potty train: moving beyond #clothdiapers?

A few weeks ago, my youngest child (18 months old) gave me a hint that he may be getting ready to move out of cloth diapers and into potty training. I was cued to this when he started notifying me when he had soiled his diaper.  "A poo. A poo." He would come over to me, wrinkle his nose up, and make a sort of expression that indicate I was to take him immediately for a diaper change.  E's terminology was used interchangeably for wet and poopy diapers... that was often a good way to trick my husband into changing a particularly messy diaper!  Soon, E was using his cue word to indicate he needed to go potty.  This critical association was enough to convince me that we should start giving him some gentle nudging to start thinking about potty training.
 

I began asking E at every diaper change if he wanted to use the potty.  He always responds, "NO."  Occasionally I get him to go into the bathroom and just "Try it out."  Sitting on the chair (or standing by the toilet) is the equivalent of a success.  I am determined that he should begin getting used to the idea of the potty.  I felt like I was being a little crazy about it, but our older daughter had shown interest (and had success) with early potty training attempts when she was 19 months old.  She took a few months' break, but was fully potty trained within 2 weeks by the time she turned 27 months old.

So why am I forcing my 18 month old to at least consider the idea that he could start using the potty?  There are many reasons, but mostly it's because I think he's capable of beginning to understand the concept.  Pee goes in the potty; not in a diaper.  He has already gotten used to using diapers and there is going to be a period of unlearning that behavior. I also see him displaying some of the signs we expect during the potty training process.  Sometimes I worry that we, as parents, don't give our kids a chance to rise to the occasion.  A child may be completely ready to use the potty, but his parents don't give him the encouragement by letting him make a few mistakes.  I've heard multiple people make comments about how accidents on the carpet are simply not worth the bother and it's easier to continue to use diapers.  Maybe this is true with an 18 month old (you're going to have a lot of accidents), but this mentality is not helping an older child.
What do you think?  Is early potty training possible?

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